jason miller WHS

Jason Miller was able to accept a grant on behalf of the Waseca Junior Senior High School for the Courage Retreat. (Photos by Bailey Grubish/Waseca County News)

Spring has presented new opportunities for many organizations in the Waseca area thanks to the Waseca Area Foundation.

Rob Helms, Vice President of the Waseca Area Foundation Board opened the spring program for the WAF on Wednesday, May 15.

He said that the foundation was able to grant over $65,000 out to numerous organizations. Of the total granted, over $30,000 was from the Rosenau Funds. In addition to organizations in the Waseca area, WAF granted over $50,000 to scholarships for the Waseca High School seniors.

The First National Bank Bluejay Debit Card Program also presented its grants at the WAF program to multiple organizations for a total of $5,900.

Helms made a point to mention that this is the highest amount of funds granted out at any spring WAF program.

“Having over $8 million in funds, it says we are able to grant over the course of the year over $300,000 in give backs to the community and we can share in the act of feeling blessed to have that kind of opportunity,” Helms said.

Over 20 organizations in the area were able to “get a piece of the pie” as Helms put it.

Hartley Elementary School was granted $1,800 to bring an author to visit. This is something the school has done before.

amy potter waf spring

Waseca Area Foundation Executive Director Amy Potter was able to present grant awards to a variety of area organizations.

“It’s fun to see all those little kids, they do a great job bringing in all those authors to WIS and Hartley,” WAF Executive Director Amy Potter said.

WAF granted $167 and Waseca Bluejays Public Schools funds, within WAF, granted $1,633 for Hartley to bring an author visit.

Another organization in Waseca that was awarded a grant was the Waseca Art Center. Executive Director Andrew Breck was present to accept the grant on behalf of the center. The grant of $955 from the Vollbrecht Cultural Arts funds through WAF will be used for three community opportunities, according to Breck.

“… I applied for this grant with three projects in mind, a senior citizens project three different times, pop-up sessions at the art center and a student artist mentorship program,” Breck said.

The three senior resident sessions would allow the participants to keep the artwork for their apartment or for their kids or grandkids. The pop-up sessions would be at the Art Center with new opportunities in digital photography and small hands-on learning opportunities. For the student artist mentorship, Breck has been working to get local artist into the schools.

The Waseca Junior Senior High School, meanwhile, received a grant to allow eighth-grade students to attend the Courage Retreat. This is a retreat that teaches the kids the importance of treating each other kindly. The grant money was from the Barb Penny Youth Fund for $1,625.

“The Barb Penny Fund truly is an investment in the kids,” Assistant Principal Jason Miller said.

Tim Penny and daughter Molly were present at the grant-giving program, and Tim Penny said that, regardless of Barb Penny’s health, she wouldn’t give up mentoring with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

Big Brothers Big Sisters also received a grant of $5,005 with the WAF granting $1,005, Rosenau Funds granting $2,500 and the Barb Penny Fund granting $1,500. This grant money is going to be used for mentoring support.

Michelle Redman big brother big sister

“We believe every child is born with potential and we are here to ignite it every day,” Michelle Redman, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota said.

“We believe every child is born with potential and we are here to ignite it every day,” Michelle Redman, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota said.

Along with the WAF grants, Bernie Gaytko, CEO and president of First National Bank presented grants on behalf of the First National Bank Bluejay Debit Card program.

The Sacred Heart Language Arts program received a grant for $2,500 from the Bluejay Debit Card Program with $5,000 for the same program from the WAF ($2,500), Rosenau Funds ($1,307) and Homer and Betty McIntire ($1,193).

This money will be used for a new language arts program through Pearson Publishing that will be piloted next school year at Sacred Heart.

“What’s fun with seeing all of the needs of the community, but it’s fun to see all of the people behind the events and the wonderful things in the community …” Gaytko said. “Jenny Connors saw a gap at Sacred Heart and is giving to them.”

Grants awarded

Hartley Elementary: Author visit for $1,800 from WAF ($167) and Waseca Bluejays Public Schools ($1,633)

City of Waseca: Downtown flowers for $2,985 from WAF ($1,007) and city of Waseca Beautification ($1,978)

Waseca Art Center: Three community opportunities for $955 from Vollbrecht Cultural Arts

Waseca County 4-H: Program offerings for $2,500 from Barb Penny Youth Fund

Waseca Junior and Senior High School: Courage retreat for $1,625 from Barb Penny Youth Fund

Waseca Area Learning Center: Student play performance for $405 from Barb Penny Youth fund

Waseca Public Library: Outdoor adventure project for $1,000 from Barb Penny Fund

Big Brothers Big Sisters: Mentoring support for $5,005 from WAF ($1,005), Rosenau Funds ($2,500) and Barb Penny Fund ($1,500)

Sacred Heart School: Language Arts Program for $5,000 from WAF ($2,500), Rosenau Funds ($1,307) and Homer and Betty McIntire ($1,193)

Hartley Elementary: Parent curriculum for $1,890 from Rosenau Funds

Jays Nest-School Age Care: Equipment upgrades for $4,326 from Rosenau Funds

Waseca Community Education: Gymnastics program for $6,000 from WAF ($826) and Rosenau Funds ($5,174)

Waseca Chamber of Commerce: Lakefest entertainment for $2,595 from WAF ($1,496) and Rosenau Funds ($1,100)

Waseca EDA: Tourism assessment for $1,500 from Rosenau Funds

Woodville Cemetery: Annual planting for $750 from WAF ($500) and Rosenau Funds ($250)

Bethlehem Inn: Commercial Freezer for $2,308 from WAF ($1,308) and Rosenau Funds ($1,000)

Waseca Soccer Club: Updated equipment fro $7,525 from Rosenau Funds

Waseca Schools Band Program: Instruments/Lesson support for $4,208 from Herb Streitz Memorial Band Fund

City of Waseca: Water carnival support for $600 from WAF

Connections Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Center: Games and projects for $1,000 from WAF

Waseca Historical Society: Exhibit for Hodgson Hall for $670 from WAF

Waseca Public Library: Summer reading program for $1,000 from WAF

New Richland Library: Author visit for $442 from WAF

Neighborhood Service Center: Food for Food Shelf for $4,000 from WAF

Hartley Elementary: Flexible seating for $1,866 from WAF

First National Bank Bluejay Debit Card Grants:

Sacred Heart: Language Arts Program for $2,500

Sacred Heart: Children’s House Montessori Program for $2,400

Waseca Hockey Association: Dry-land equipment for $1,000

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey.

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